The Most Dangerous Shoulder Exercises

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. This property puts it in a vulnerable position during many exercises. Technically, the shoulder can take a lot of abuse, but once it’s hurt – it’s never the same.

Below is a list of dangerous shoulder exercises. In general, if you are not prepared and do not follow the right progression, you are risking injuries.

1. Bench Press

The bench press is a solid upper body exercise. It works the chest, the triceps, and the front deltoids. Unfortunately, many people use the bench press as a way to measure their self-worth. When the ego takes over, there is always a chance to hurt yourself.


People are constantly training to “outbench” each other. They pay no attention to form, overtrain and end up with overuse injuries such as tendonitis or rotator cuff tears. Since the bench press does not allow the scapula to move freely, there are also many injuries caused by impingement.

To avoid injuries, keep your ego in check, learn proper form and avoid overtraining.

2. Chair dips a.k.a. Triceps Dips

The chair/bench dip could produce a significant amount of stress within the shoulder. In fact, it’s even more stressful than the regular dip due to the immense stretch at the front of the shoulder. Stay away from the chair dip unless you are certain that your shoulders can handle it.

What to do? Stick to push-ups and regular dips. Don’t worry, this is plenty for your triceps.

3. Behind the neck overhead press

The press behind the neck could put a lot of stress on the shoulder too. The regular military press in front of the neck is more shoulder friendly.

4. Machines designed for shoulder exercises

Most machines designed for shoulders are dangerous because they force the joint to move over an unnatural path. No matter how fancy the equipment looks, stay away from machines. They are really hard on the shoulder joint. Stick to free weights. They allow you to find a groove.

5. Vince Gironda Dips

Vince Gironda’s dips suck for the most part. They will wreck your shoulder in no time. Of course, if the shoulder joint is prepared to handle the stress, you are less likely to experience pain. Regardless, the exercise is still very dangerous and puts the shoulder capsule and rotator cuff in a vulnerable position.

What to do? Regular dips.

6. Smith machine exercises

Similarly to other machines, the Smith is often a sucky choice since it places the shoulder in a fixed pattern.

In conclusion

Technically, if the shoulder joint is carefully prepared for a task, it can handle almost any exercise. Yet there are some movements that very likely to cause problems.

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